PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday officiated at the 7th annual National Thanksgiving and Dedication Service, where he said the Second Republic’s bold engagement and re-engagement policy was opening new avenues for cooperation and strategic synergies.
He also urged the nation to remain resolute in the face of illegal economic sanctions imposed by the West.
As a result of the fast-track land reform programme in 2002, the former colonial power, Britain and the United States were instrumental in mobilising their European allies against any form of trade or relations with Zimbabwe through threats of the embargo.
In his address during the annual National Thanksgiving and Dedication Service at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) Grounds in Bulawayo yesterday, President Mnangagwa said in light of the sanctions, the country will continue to tap into home-grown economic solutions spearheaded by the Second Republic.
He said since the coming of the Second Republic, the country has witnessed tremendous transformative development.
The Second Republic’s mantra of not leaving anyone and no place behind has managed to improve the country’s perception and image.
“Since the advent of the Second Republic, we have realised transformative development which is lifting our nation towards a brighter and prosperous future. We remain determined to maintain a culture of diligence, self-reliance and hard honest work in the face of machinations of our detractors,” said President Mnangagwa.
He said it was incumbent upon citizens to develop the country and implored them to embrace the culture of honest hard work.
“We have the responsibility to develop our country brick by brick, stone upon stone, ourselves. The burden of developing our country rests squarely on ourselves. Notwithstanding the unjust illegal sanctions we continue to face, our engagement and re-engagement drive is opening new avenues of cooperation and strategic synergies,” he said.
“This attests to our guarding foreign policy objective that Zimbabwe is a friend to all and an enemy to none.”
President Mnangagwa’s engagement and re-engagement initiative has been opening new frontiers for Zimbabwe.
This re-engagement drive is part of a battery of policies that the Second Republic is implementing to ensure that Zimbabwe achieves its vision of attaining an Upper Middle Income Economy by 2030 through increased foreign direct investment.
Soon after his inauguration to mark his first five years in office, President Mnangagwa hit the ground running and immediately introduced the “Zimbabwe is Open for Business” mantra.
A cocktail of policies epitomised by President Mnangagwa’s “Zimbabwe is Open for Business” mantra and the engagement and re-engagement drive have seen the country leading global bodies such as the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme (KPCS).
Presently, Zimbabwe is the chair of KP — a global body of diamond-producing nations which has 52 participants, representing 82 countries, with the European Union and its member states counting as a single participant.
Apart from being chair of KP, a global body that sets out the requirements for controlling rough diamond production and trade, Zimbabwe is also chair of the 19-member Africa Diamond Producers’ Association (ADPA).
President Mnangagwa said every sector of the economy is improving as evidenced by what is happening in mining, tourism, civil aviation, power generation and technology among others.
For instance, in the agricultural sector, President Mnangagwa said the country has experienced unprecedented bumper harvests in maize, wheat and traditional grains.
With bumper harvests, the country last year considered exporting surplus wheat.
In 2022, a record harvest of over 375 000 tonnes was achieved after planting wheat on 80 000 hectares, creating homegrown carryover stocks.
After increasing the hectarage to 86 000 last year due to various progressive interventions by the Government, there were hopes of an even higher output in the region of 420 000 tonnes.
“Not only have we experienced unprecedented bumper harvests in maize, wheat and traditional grains, our persistence in working hard in the construction of dams is rapidly expanding our production and productive capacity through irrigation, over and above providing water for needy communities,” said President Mnangagwa.
“Beyond dams, we are drilling boreholes in each of the 35 000 villages. Infrastructure development based on local needs identified by communities has seen schools, hospitals, clinics, bridges and other essential structures springing up.”
President Mnangagwa told the congregants that Hwange Power Station’s Unit 7 and 8 which have since been synchronised with the system and Gwayi-Shangani Dam were key infrastructure projects in Matabeleland.
Unit 7 and 8 are components of the US$1,4 billion Hwange Unit 7 and 8 expansion project whose construction began in August 2018 following a ground-breaking ceremony by President Mnangagwa.
Government successfully secured loan funding from China in 2018 and the project has been successfully implemented by a Chinese contractor, Sinohydro Corporation.
The project is a major success for Zimbabwe as it fulfils one of the promises made by President Mnangagwa which is to improve power supply in line with the key aspirations of NDS1.
“Beyond this, we are enhancing the competitiveness of our economy by deepening the ease of doing business reforms as part of the broader enabling economic environment. As we look forward to the New Year, let us remain united and peaceful while protecting our beloved motherland, Zimbabwe.”
The annual church service is organised by the Faith for the Nation Campaign — an inter-denominational grouping of local churches.
Its significance is that it is a platform where believers meet the country’s leadership to intercede for the nation, an ingredient that is pivotal to the rise of any nation.
Among the dignitaries who attended the event were Acting President Constantino Chiwenga, Bulawayo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Judith Ncube, Faith for the Nation Campaign founder and chairperson Apostle Andrew Wutawunashe and religious leaders from various churches.